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USC adds master's degrees in Alternative Dispute Resolution

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University of Southern California Gould School of Law announced it is launching two new master's degrees for attorneys and non-attorney professionals in one of the fastest growing areas of law and business — alternative dispute resolution.

USC is the first top 20 law school to offer a Master of Dispute Resolution and Master of Laws in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

With less than 2 percent of lawsuits making it to trial, ADR has become a vital tool for attorneys and business professionals, according to Prof. Lisa Klerman, director of USC Gould's Judge Judith O. Hollinger Program in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

"It is no secret that companies and the courts are relying on mediation and ADR to avoid high court costs," Klerman said. “We are in a unique position to train both lawyers and business professionals in this growing area.”

Klerman directs the program with Jack R. Goetz, an award-winning mediator for the Los Angeles Superior Court. Goetz has taught hundreds of mediators at USC and California State University campuses.

The Master of Dispute Resolution is designed for both lawyers and other professionals, who work in human resources, business management and government. Many are called upon to mediate and manage ADR processes in both the public and private sectors. In addition to law courses, students will have the opportunity to take classes at USC's Marshall School of Business, Annenberg School for Communication and Price School for Public Policy to gain skills in business and the management of organizations.

A second degree — the Master of Laws in Alternative Dispute Resolution — is for lawyers interested in specializing in arbitration and mediation. Courses are expected to build strength in the ADR process, ultimately resulting in a prestigious credential as an ADR neutral.

Both degrees are currently accepting applications for fall 2017. Degrees can be completed in one year on a full-time schedule, with part-time options available.

All members of the inaugural class will be offered partial scholarships.